Cover gray glass with copper and you get purple. Or, at least, the look of purple glass on the outside. Inside looking out of the new Deseret News Building, the view is, aside from a soft hue, very natural.
The glass gives the outside of the building a distinctive look. It is the very look the owners and architects were looking for."We've had a lot of comments on the glass," says Ben Hiatt, project manager for Linford Brothers Glass, "All of it very positive to this point."
The glass was manufactured in Michigan and shipped by truck to the construction site.
"To my knowledge, this is the only building in the state to have this glass," said Hiatt.
Aside from the color, the combination of glass and coating makes it very high-preformance and energy efficient. It blocks out a lot of the solar heat in the summer and keeps the building's heat inside in the winter.
According to Hiatt, the most difficult thing about the project for him was coming up with the right sizes so that the glass fit perfectly into the frames in Salt Lake City. Glass, like this, can't be cut.
The secret was coming up with a size and then coordinating construction so that the spaces and the glass matched.
Each of the glass panels measures 6 feet by 8 feet and each weighs around 335 pounds. It took four men to set each panel in place.
The second most difficult part of the installation was the rounded staircase in the front of the building.
Here, there was no firm platform to work from. Each panel of glass had to be hand-carried and set into place.
According to Hiatt, he logged more than 800 man hours on the staircase alone.
To get the desired look, the glass in the rounded stairway is clear. The stairway will be lighted at night and will no doubt become an evening landmark in the downtown area.
Each panel of clear glass in the stairway weighs around 160 pounds.
Installation of the glass began in June of 1996.
Yet another unique feature of the glasswork is the front doors. While they may look like your typical glass doors, there is one special feature - they have magnetic locks.
During office hours, the doors will operate as any door. During "lock-down" times, however, when the building is closed, they will be magnetically locked. They will be impossible to open from the outside, but simply touching the handle of the door from the inside will release the magnetic locks.
Again, said Hiatt, he couldn't think of another building in Utah with this type of locking system.
"It's new and when it came time to put in the doors, we upgraded to this system," he said.
"The finished product shows the great work of the architects and cooperation between the subcontractors to make a small buiding look very attractive."